Monday, May 28, 2007

Country Routes

Take Me Back There
I'm excited to have released my latest CD titled 'Country Routes'. It's a collection of my favorite Country Classic hits from the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's presented in what I call an Instrumental Honky Tonk Country pickin' piano with emphasis put on the melody and performed as 'tinkling the ivories'.

I named it 'Country Routes' from memories as a young boy before the Interstates were developed when we traveled on state highways throughout Tennessee. My Dad was from Memphis and my Mom was from Knoxville. We also had relatives (aunt and cousins) in Nashville and Chattanooga. We often made the long journey across Tennessee, traveling east to west either on US Hwy. 70 or Hwy. 64 and north to South on Hwy. 58 to or from Chattanooga and Kingston. I got to see the country side as the radio was blaring out Country tunes from that 1953 Dodge. I especially remember all those red top barns with 'see Rock City' written in big white letters on the roofs. When we kids got bored, we counted cows to see who had the most until we reached our final destination.

Produced by New Deal Music of Memphis, this CD is dedicated to the memories of those bygone days when life seemed so much simpler, along with the black and white TV, leaving your doors unlocked and listening to Country music from the Grand Ole Opry.

Special thanks goes out to Jim Kail of Delta Sun and James Gammell of Bolivar and Tina Tigner of Hornsby for her visual inspiration. The CD Includes 20 Classic Country songs plus one original theme tune titled 'Take Me Back there', written especially by me for this album. I love playing and performing all genres of music, but I was raised in the South where the radio stayed on an AM Country station. I can remember my Mom going around the house humming Country songs. Those songs stuck into my head. Along with her favorites, I chose some of my favorites, too.

Those were the days of Cows, Barns and Little Towns

Play the above 'Country Routes' CD Song Clip

Click here to Order this and other Bobby Sowell CD's Music Merchandise Page

The following story was too good to pass up. It involves my good friend and drummer James Gammell and Jerry Lee Lewis back in 1987. The story is written and submitted by James Gammell exclusively for this BLOG.

While watching Jerry Lee Lewis on PBS recently, I was reminded of an encounter I had with "The Killer".
Hernando's Hideaway on Brooks Rd. in Memphis was once my home away from home. One weekend night in 1987 my girlfriend and I were at the famous club. It was after midnight and one of the band members told me that Jerry Lee was in the building visiting club owner Kenny Rogers in his office. My girlfriend, Pam, heard the news and asked me if I would get Jerry Lee's autograph for her. I said "OK, no problem".
So, I strolled up to the office door alone, knocked on it and cracked it open slightly (the band was playing and I couldn't hear anyone say "Come in"). I poked my head in and asked Jerry Lee if I could get his autograph for my girlfriend. He motioned for me to come in and said "Sure". I entered and closed the door behind me. I thought I'd start a little chit-chat with him while he was looking for pen and paper. I said "Where are you playing nowadays?" He said "Well, I'm about to go on tour in Belgium, France, England, Scotland, Ireland and all over Europe". I said "Great, is James Burton still playing lead guitar for you?" I don't know why I asked that, but he said "Hell, I've got a guitar player now that plays circles around James Burton". I said "Bullshit" (and I have no idea why I said that). I saw his facial expression change from 'welcome' to anger. He said "What did you say?" I knew he heard me the first time, so I couldn't change what I said. I said "Bullshit" again. He slammed the pen down on Kenny Rogers' desk and started getting up from his chair. Now, within the next 2 or 3 seconds, all of the following was going through my mind. I thought "Well, this Rock and Roll legend is coming over here to try to knock me on my ass." I thought about easing out the door. I really didn't want a confrontation like this in a small office. I looked to my right and there stood Jerry Lee's 2 female bodyguards dressed in black shiny leather pants suits. One of them stepped between me and the door. Another thought came to mind....."These girls might know karate or something". I had taken a few lessons from Elvis' karate instructor, Kang Rhee, but I could see that I was outnumbered 4 to 1. So, I stood my ground, never moved a muscle while Jerry Lee came toward me. As he approached me I thought "Well, this is it, let's just see what "The Killer" does". I never moved an inch. He came right up to me and as I looked down at him, he grabbed the neck of my shirt tightly in his right hand and said "Nobody calls me a liar. Who in the hell are you?" All I ever gave him was my name. He paused, thinking intently, as if to say "Do I know you?" I probably should have told him that I was a fan and a drummer, but I never did. I still had not moved. He let go of my shirt. He went back to Kenny Rogers' desk, took pen and paper, signed it and handed it to me. I thanked him politely. Once again he said "Who are you"? I told him my name and walked out the door, shutting it behind me.
My girlfriend and I stayed till the band quit playing at 4:30 AM. Jerry Lee never took the stage during the entire night, as he usually did. Pam and I were still at the bar when Jerry Lee and Kenny came out of his office. He spoke to a few people as he made his way up front. By this time I was pretty drunk and so was my girlfriend. Jerry Lee seemed to stagger a little as he walked. I don't remember everything that happened after that, but he came toward me at the bar. He sat down at a barstool and I sat down next to him. I don't know how long we sat there together and drank, but the club owner usually locked the doors about 5 AM after everyone left except guests. We stayed. I don't remember if he bought me a drink. I might have bought him one. We must have talked for a long time, but the only thing I really recall saying to Jerry Lee was "I have a song I want to pitch to you". And he said "Yeah, pitch me a song and pitch me the bitch (referring to my girlfriend). I don't remember what else was said that night, but I can say that I have sat.... and talked.... and drank with.... and was confronted by...."The Killer" himself, Jerry Lee Lewis !!

Incidentally, Jerry Lee's sister, Linda Gail Lewis used to frequent Hernando's Hideaway also. Late one night I was there while she was performing on stage. She could play piano and sing Jerry Lee's songs almost as well as he could. And, she was a hell of a lot better looking; she was HOT!! Well, after she finished her set, somehow I found a way to talk to her and praise her performance. We chatted a little and she invited me to go to another club with her and her entourage. But, since she had a boyfriend/bodyguard who stuck to her like glue, I regretfully declined the invitation.

In the 70's, a man named Bob McCarver was a frequent visitor to the Americana Club at Winchester and Lamar, where I played drums with Don McMinn. Bob and I became friends and I learned that he had three daughters who were singers. Bob invited me to his house on Quince Ave. in Memphis to a practice session with his daughters and some musicians, to see if I wanted to be their drummer. Well, I don't know if I failed the audition or if they just never got their act together, but that one instance was the only time I ever played for the McCarver sisters. A few years later I heard that one of the girls, Kerrie McCarver, became Jerry Lee Lewis' sixth wife! -James Gammell

James (Jim) Gammell is currently playing drums with
"The Bobby Sowell Revue" Show Band.

*2010 JG Update
James Gammell is now living in beautiful downtown Branson,
centrally located for gigging all across the USA.

Dewey Phillips was a legendary Memphis radio Disc Jockey who single handed launched Elvis Presley's career. He was one of rock 'n' roll's pioneering disk jockeys, along the lines of Cleveland's Alan Freed. Starting his radio career in 1949 on WHBQ-AM in Memphis, he was the city's leading radio personality for nine years and was the first to simulcast his "Red, Hot & Blue" show on radio and television in the USA.

Back in 1965, Bobby was cutting a commercial at the local radio station in Millington, TN. There is where he met the legendary Dewey Phillips. At first, Bobby did not know who he was. Dewey was employed as a janitor. Yes, we said janitor. Dewey had lost his broadcasting license and was working as a janitor. Bobby remembers thinking, "What a waste of talent!" As he recalled, Bobby finished the commercial late that night. Dewey approached him and ask if he minded giving him a ride home. Of course, Bobby said yes. On the way, Dewey asked Bobby another question, "Would you mind taken me by the liquor store?" Again, Bobby said yes. When they got to the liquor store he again ask Bobby one more question, "Would you have $5.00 I could borrow for a bottle of wine? Again, Bobby said yes and was more than happy to give him the $5.00. Bobby took him home and that was the last time he saw him but Bobby will never forget it.

Click here to visit the Rockabilly Hall of fame Inductees
Click here to visit Bobby Sowell at the Rockabilly Hall of fame

Monday, March 12, 2007


I was driving around my city the other day doing routine errands when I got into some heavy traffic. I couldn't help notice the car in front of me. It had a Mexican flag flying proudly in the breeze and what I call carnival Mexican music blaring out. Well, that got me thinking and it really insulted my America. The one I was drafted for and went to fight in an unpopular war named Vietnam. I remembered the attitudes back then where the sheer sight of my US Military uniform brought stairs and rocks. But now some 40 year's later, a Mexican flag? Wake up America! The illegal immigrants don't want a melting pot! They want our land and our way of life but not as a US citizen, but as a Mexican. It's like a slap in the face of our Texas forefathers who died in the Mexican-American war? For what? To have them come back and take over without firing a shot? But by sheer voting numbers? The popular argument is they are doing jobs that Americans don't want? Hum, my American born Caucasian grandson came home upset last month because he didn't get hired at CC's Pizza because the job went to a Mexican. Tell him he didn't want the job?

I am sorry but after hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Spanish - enough is enough. Nowhere did they sing it in Italian, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German or any other language because of immigration. It was written by Francis Scott Key and should be sung word for word the way it was written The news broadcasts even gave the translation -- not even close. Sorry if this offends anyone but this is MY COUNTRY - IF IT IS YOUR COUNTRY SPEAK UP!

I am not against immigration -- just come through like everyone else. Get a sponsor; have a place to lay your head; have a job; pay your taxes, live by the rules AND LEARN THE LANGUAGE as all other immigrants have in the past -- and GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Click here: Mexican American War
Click here: Texas Independence

Remember the Alamo

The only survivor of the Alamo massacre was a Sowell, my Great Great Uncle named Andrew Jackson Sowell, a courier for General Sam Houston, who had left just 10 minutes before the attack. He later served as a Colonel in the Confederate Army commanding Fort Pillow in West Tennesee. His name is mentioned at the "Alamo" along with other great Americans who lost their lives at the hands of a Mexican army onslaught. What would they think of us today and our handling (or lack of) illegal Mexician Immigrants? And flying their Mexican Flag in Tennessee?

Click here: Andrew Jackson Sowell 1815-1883


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sherry Ann

Happy Birthday Sherry...
I would like to wish my oldest daughter Sherry a Happy Birthday. She lives in Jacksonville, FL. I haven't heard from her in a while and I hope she will see this BLOG and contact me. She was born on Eglin AFB in Ft Walton Beach, Florida where I was stationed while in the Air Force, but she grew up in Memphis, Tennessee after her Mom divorced. She married and eventually returned to her home state of Florida.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tis the Season

Merry Christmas...
Well, I have been so busy playing my Christmas gigs that I haven't had time to post much for the month of December. So, I will try and sneak in a little one. Besides my regular Christmas gigs, this year I have added on addional eleven days to my busy gig schedule. I will be performing at the Wolfchase Toyota dealership, inside the showroom through the 23rd of December, sponsored by Toyota and Yamaha. Then right after my performance on the 23rd, my family and I will catch a flight to Houston, Texas to visit my brother Gene. We are having a Sowell Family Christmas, Texas style that will include all my siblings from Memphis, Nebraska and of course Houston. We will be there until the 30th. I am looking forwarded to the visit. This is the first time since out Mom died that we all have been together for Christmas (since 1997). I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, I don't use Happy Holidays because I am proud to be a Christian and I view Christmas as a celebration of Jesus Birth, not Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Muslim Holy week regardless if it's not politically correct. I think the celebration of Christmas is also an American tradition as apple pie, sanctioned by our Christian forefathers and our heritage. Check out the below links to view new Christmas gig PICS taken last week. More photos to come.

Click here to view Christmas Gig Photos
Click here to view custom made Christmas Card

Monday, November 13, 2006

Two Hot Chicks

My little Chick-a-dees

Every photo has a story and boy does this one: In 1957, when Bobby was 10 years old, he got two baby chicks for Easter from the Northgate Shopping Center in Frayser. Back then, the chicks were dyed different colors. When the family moved from Woodrow Street to the corner of Nunnelee Street and Debby Street, Bobby brought one of those chicks with him, (the other one had been eaten by their neighbor's dog). The chick lived to be an old rooster, who was better than having a dog. They didn't have a backyard fence so he would run off all the stray kids cutting through their yard by chasing them and pecking their legs. At night, he would roost in a backyard tree. He never left the back yard. He lived a lot of years and froze to death one winter.

OK now, fast forward to 11 years later (1968)...

Bobby was on military leave staying with his parents. He had borrowed his Dad's car and went out drinking, proudly for the first time, dressed in his class A military uniform, drove to the "Dynasty" Lounge on North Watkins. On the way back home, at around 2:00 AM (drunk driving), Bobby ran off the road on Frayser Blvd with the car plowing into a fence. He made a pretty good size hole in the fence. There was a big dog in their yard and in Bobby's drunk mind, wasn't about to get out of the car so he drove back out the same hole he made coming in and drove home. Well, he had dropped his service hat. (it had the service number written inside of it). During the impact with the fence, Bobby dented up the passenger side of the car, the side where his Dad wouldn't notice the damage (until he was gone back to Texas). Well, the day before Bobby was to ship out, a knock on the door brought 2 policemen, and in one of their hands was his service cap (BUSTED!) So, he had to get an Extension of Leave so he could go to court on 'Leaving the Scene of an Accident' charge, (But no DUI).

Now back to the case of the other
dead baby chick when Bobby was 10...

When Bobby got to court and went in front of the judge, he was suprised to see the judge was his old neighbor from Woodrow Street? And the Judge recognized Bobby! Well, the court proceding was continuing on when the Judge leaned over and asked Bobby, "is there anything you would like to say in you defense"?

And then Bobby said in a low whisper......

"Yes, your honor, do you remember when your dog ate my baby chicken?" The Judge then looked over his glasses as the gavel came down, hitting the surface hard and said, "Case dismissed"!

That's a true story!! Bobby got off them charges because the judge's dog ate his baby chicken when he was a 10 year old kid!!

But, that's not the end of it...

Now, Fast Forward to 45 years later...

The people, whose yard and fence Bobby tore up (plus their dog got out and his Dad had to pay for all the damages), now go to Bobby's church!! They moved from Frayser to Barlett! They laugh everytime Bobby tells this story! Bobby forgets how he pieced it all together? CSI Frayser?

Bobby's got a lot of crazy stories like this one, that has happened to him over the years and may wind up here on his BLOG. His advice is not to try any of these at home as you may not get the same results.

*Footnote: Bobby eventually straightened up his life and recovered from his wild and crazy drinking days and now is active in his church and helping struggling alcoholics to recover from alcoholism.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

22nd Already?

Happy 22nd Birthday!

I would like to wish my youngest son Christopher, a happy 22nd birthday. When I was his age, I shipped out to the Vietnam War. I am glad he lives in freedom and don't have to fight in a war like his Dad did (no draft in Canada). All of my American born Canadian Children were born on American Holidays. Rob, Father's Day and Mandy, Memorial Day. I told the doctor when Chris was going to be born based on my two previous children. I told him Chris should be arriving on the 11th of November, Veteran's Day, (Remembrance Day in Canada). And sure enough, he was born on 11-11-04, Christopher Michael Sowell, born in Memphis, Tennessee, making this Vietnam vet a happy farther. His middle name, Michael came from his uncle Michael (my two year younger brother) who drowned at the age of 10 in 1958, one day before Easter. Chris likes to play music and is learning to play the guitar. I think he's got a keyboard too. (perhaps he has gotten musical talent from his Dad).

Chrisopher left Memphis, Tennessee when he was just under two years old and grew up in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada along with his sister and brother, Mandy and Robby, where they all reside at now. I hope to see Chris in the near future. I will call him today later on today. Happy Birthday Chris from your Dad.

Chris was born in Memphis, Tennessee

It's Veteran's Day Too...


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What is it?

Spam, what is it? Definition: Spam is any message, pop-up, ad, email or posting, regardless of it's content, that is sent to recipients who have not specifically requested it. Usually, spam comes from someone who you don't know or it could be a friend or family member but then you know how to handle them or send them a reply email to stop it. Personally, I hate them annoying popups followed by unwanted emails from places I don't even know.

Why would anyone buy something from anyone who spams them? I don't know about everyone else but I would never buy anything from spammers. Besides being annoying, in your face advertising makes me mad and for that reason alone, I would never order anything from them. It would be like going to the mall and all of a sudden, a person from Dillards runs up and screams in your face about their sale specials. I would like to know who buys stuff from spammers? Do they really? Apparently, people do or they wouldn't spam anyone. Or is it's just a ploy to get you to buy anti-spam and spyware software from Internet giants? And to make it look like a good deal when your Internet provider throws in a free spam blocker when they'er the main suspects. Makes one wonder, doesn't it?

Be weary of spam notices like the one below. Most of them are dead links. Where do they get you email address? From many different sources. They buy your email address from different lists. Whenever you visit any website or page, they got you! Their new spam techniques are getting slick too. Now they can spam your guestbook and fax. Never reply to unsolicited e-mail with a "remove" request since this only validates to a spammer that your address is current.

Happy surfing!

Click here for more Spam Information